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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:53 pm 
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Jack3 wrote:
Denise Dee wrote:
While I totally disagree with Obi on this issue (and a few other issues), I admire and respect him for not resorting to personal attacks which have no bearing on the issue being debated.

Anyway, whatever anyone else may think and whatever cheap shots they may resort to, I do honestly have a life, and arguing about unedifying issues with people who are trying to uglify and diminish my beautiful faith in an absolutely loving merciful God, and then when their arguments fall short, they then resort to personal attacks, does not help me to live in a positive feeling of love and joy and compassion and good humour and peace in my heart. There are better, more positive things I can be doing, and anything more I say on this heavy issue would just be a repeat. I know there are other Christians including Catholics who believe God is infinitely merciful not sadistic, so I don't see the point of arguing with those who will never change their minds because they think the traditional Catholic Church can never have taught anything that needs to be reconsidered.


Father or theJack believe in a merciful God; they do not want to diminish your faith. Quite to the contrary - they want to help you grow in faith, and that involves knowing God in a more perfect way. Independently of the Church, by reason alone, man can know that Good is sovereign, simple and changeless. Due to this, diminishing God's otherness presents a logical problem. This is why they deny that the word love can be used univocally, and this is why Siggy said you will get nowhere [in persuading them to your position].


I am curious. Please explain what you mean when you say "the word love is being used univocally." I'm not sure I'm understanding all the nuances.


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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:12 pm 
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Light of the East wrote:
Signum Crucis wrote:
Denise Dee wrote:
If you mean I'll get nowhere arguing with traditional Catholics who are not open to any possibility the Church hasn't traditionally taught, I entirely agree with you. If you mean I'll get nowhere in my life, I'll be the judge of that.


I'm saying that anything in the teachings of the Church that you disagree with are due to your defective reasoning, not the Church's. Take that as you will. You'll make no converts to your position here.


I don't think that Denise Dee was looking for converts as much as entering into a discussion.


See Jack3's post below this one of yours. He gets it.


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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:15 pm 
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For my sister and I, love obliges us to do more or less similar things. My father is married, and has a regular, paying job; so for him love includes providing for his family and then helping the poor. My paternal grandfather is old and sick, so for him love asks something different. My grandaunt is orphaned, unmarried and childless, so she practices love in a way different from my sister or father.

All of us should love,yes, but the way in which we love is different.

From the above, you will have realized two things: Firstly, different people practice love in different ways, secondly, what form love should take depends on who we are, what we have,etc.

Now let us apply this to God.

God is extremely different from man, and hence God's love is extremely different from man's love.

To use a simple example, love implies that man should not judge. This is because we are sinners ourselves, and because we don't fully know the other's situation. But God is completely sinless and omniscient.

Another: Man is indebted to those who do good to him. But no one can do a favor to God, because God is perfect and doesn't need anything from any creature.

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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:35 am 
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Quote:
For my sister and I, love obliges us to do more or less similar things. My father is married, and has a regular, paying job; so for him love includes providing for his family and then helping the poor. My paternal grandfather is old and sick, so for him love asks something different. My grandaunt is orphaned, unmarried and childless, so she practices love in a way different from my sister or father.

All of us should love,yes, but the way in which we love is different.

From the above, you will have realized two things: Firstly, different people practice love in different ways, secondly, what form love should take depends on who we are, what we have,etc.

Now let us apply this to God.

God is extremely different from man, and hence God's love is extremely different from man's love.

To use a simple example, love implies that man should not judge. This is because we are sinners ourselves, and because we don't fully know the other's situation. But God is completely sinless and omniscient.

Another: Man is indebted to those who do good to him. But no one can do a favor to God, because God is perfect and doesn't need anything from any creature.


In trying to remain irenic and charitable to a brother in Christ, I will refrain from my first thoughts when I read this.

1. No, the way we love is not different. Love means one thing and one thing only - that you do that which is BEST for the object of your love. THAT is way you love. When Jesus tells us to love our enemies, he even defines it in the Scriptures, talking about doing good to them. These actions are not predicated on our emotions towards the enemy or how we are feeling in a given moment. Now the manner of doing good may differ. One person may need her rent paid for the month. Another may need a visit in a hospital room. Still another another may just need a nice smile and a compliment on her job, a small act of love, but an act of love nonetheless. In any and all the varied cases of giving love, both to enemies and friends, the act is always one of positive self-giving and doing GOOD for the other.

Now suppose you tell me how torturing someone in eternal fire meets that criteria? i would be interested in how you define such an action as a "good" for the one that is being done to?

2. Doing good does NOT depend upon who we are, what we are, etc. The MEANS of doing good, as I outlined above, may differ according to the need, but you do not love your enemy in a different manner than you love your friend. In both cases, you seek to do that which is good and best for them.

3. Where do you get the idea that love implies that we should not judge? :scratch: :scratch: The very act of loving another means that you MUST judge in order to do the BEST for them. I know what you are getting at. People assume that sloppy sentimentalism, the idea of "not judging" people but "accepting me as I am" (even in their sins) is love. Bunkum. That is not love, that is emotionalism. Love always judges. It judges the circumstance and the person so that it can do the BEST for them. And this is how God judges also. Here is how love judges:

https://http4281.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/judgment/

3. God is different from man, but that does not change the ontological nature of love. Love is doing the BEST for the other person. That is in Scripture in Matthew 5 and 1 Corinthians 13 as well as at the Cross, where love did the BEST for all of mankind, not some small group of "the elect." (Romans 5: 12-19). Love is the same whether God practices it (NOTE: He can't "practice it". He IS love, therefore, as TheJack and I have discussed, what He is, He does) or man practices it. You are trying to make love somehow different with God so that you can crack the door open a few inches, slip eternal conscious torment into the room, and then call that love. I find such a misrepresentation of the ontological character of love to be................never mind.

4. God is indebted to no one because, as TheJack has taught me, He is simple and free. But God IS love, therefore, He does what He is. The torment that sinners feel (and remember, those who teach Patristic Universalism do NOT deny that there is torment for sin after death) is the "scourging of God's LOVE" (St. Isaac the Syrian) and it is intended to do something. It is intended to bring the soul to its senses by the torment of the realization of its vanity, the vanity of sin, the nothingness of existing without God, and a very personal knowledge of the harm done to others. I experienced a very, VERY tiny taste of this one night eleven years ago in the monastery where I was discerning a call to that vocation. My mind was suddenly filled with a very deep knowledge of how badly I had treated my first wife (I thought myself to be a wonderful and devout Christian - HAH!) I was shown things that hurt so bad......I can't even begin to describe the sheer horror of it.

IT FELT LIKE A FIRE IN MY SOUL!!!

And if this is what my very infinitesimal taste of the truth felt like, I don't want to ever experience something like that again. It will be a horror beyond belief to the fornicator, the thief, the lying politician, the murderer, etc. to experience the truth of their sins in such a manner.

But to leave them in that state forever is not love. Don't even try to persuade me that such an action is love. Remember, love does the BEST for the object of its love, therefore, since God loves all - ALL - (in opposition to the despicable Calvinist idea of His limited love to the elect and His HATRED for all others) then LOVE will do the BEST for all. And the best is to use that torment to cure the soul and bring it into its proper teleological end, which is union with God. That is what the soul is ordered to, that is what love will bring it to, and God is powerful enough and loving enough to bring it to completion.

Anyone who can look at the Cross and see the free, immutable, loving, all-powerful God reduced to being spit upon, mocked and cursed by His creatures, suffering the most agonizing death imaginable, and yet imagine that in regards to these creatures would say "Meaaaaaa..........I'll let most of them be destroyed and only save a handful" DOES NOT UNDERSTAND LOVE.

THAT is not love. Not even close.


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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:45 am 
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One other thing, where I think the confusion lies here:

Love is univocal in its ontological reality. That is, love is ALWAYS doing what is the BEST for the other.

But the MEANS by which love is EXPRESSED is not univocal. As I said in my post above, the means by which it is expressed differ from person to person and situation to situation. One person may need an intervention and being locked up in a rehab center to keep from killing themselves, while another may simply need an hour of consolation and visitation after the death of a relative. Every situation is different

You are trying to take an action of God in regards to the sinner - the presumption of an eternal conscious hell - and define it as love when it does not at all meet the definition of love. The only way that conscious torment - the "scourging of God's love" as per St. Isaac the Syrian - meets the definition of love is when that action results in good for the object of the God who is love. And the good that is intended is the healing of the sick soul and its restoration through the pain of chastisement.


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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:48 am 
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I thought you were going to give us a Scriptural case :scratch:

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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:11 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I thought you were going to give us a Scriptural case :scratch:



1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

Matthew 5: 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Luk 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. Was Christ's prayer only for those who were standing at the foot of the Cross? Or was it for all men of all ages? Romans 5 says it was for everyone.

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow tothe many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! We know that all except our Blessed Lady are in consideration here, so the word "many" really applies to all mankind ever born

18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. How can those who have been justified be sent into an eternal hell? The Good News of the Gospel was exactly this, that by the death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ, man is freed from death and can escape the consequences of sin through union with Christ in baptism. If all are justified before God, then there is no need of an eternal [i]punishing
torment, but rather a need for a corrective fire which burns away the dross and brings forth the soul as it should be.

20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

OH!!!!

I just found this:

Rom 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Are you saying that God, who IS love, is exempt from this definition in the Scriptures, that He is free to work ill towards souls? Or would you define unending torment as a good? (I don't know how you could, given that you and TheJack have schooled me on the definition of "good" as being that which a thing should be)

Anyway, there is the Bible definition - love does not work ill towards its neighbor. How much more does He who IS love not work ill towards us?

Here is another great Bible definition:

Eph 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.

Self-giving love, or as I said earlier, love simply does that which is BEST for the object of its love, as Christ did so sacrificially for us.

There's a lot more. I'm just getting warmed up to the task!


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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:24 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
theJack is right, by the way. It's really not possible to proceed on any basis other than that God's essence is being. Otherwise, we're just not talking about the same thing at all.


Uh huh......and yet this from one of my teachers online:

Quote:
Now if God does not have a nature, but just is a nature, then “His nature” is just what He is. And what is He? The Latin answer is ipsum esse subsistens — Existence Existing in Itself. That’s the reason that He is His actions. He is not a being that does this or that. Rather, He is identical with “the doing of that.” That’s just His essence — the act of being. And he “be’s” in whatever way He chooses to be. And that choice just is His essence, necessarily, and absolutely freely.


There is no other action in the Bible in which God is ontologically identified. There is no verse that says "God is justice." In fact, doing my due diligence, I just found out that the word "justice" is found only 28 time and that only in the Old Testament. Now that's interesting and worth some further thought, but the fact remains that no verse describes God as an ontological state of justice as it says that the ontological state, the very being (essence of God) is love in the verse that says "God is love."

So when God is described as love, then according to the quote I posted, because that is His essence, His being, then that is also the act of being. And when we properly define love - not according to some twisted idea of retributive justice, but according to the verses I posted, then eternal hell is simply not a possibility.

And with all due respect, I think your trying to say that we only understand God in parts because of our limited humanity is dancing around the fact. God IS love. God IS. Everything proper to our limited understanding of God in His unknowableness has to be brought to these two things which we have been told in Scripture - He IS and He IS love. Separate those two and you can make God anything you want. He can be just like Zeus or any of the other implacable and angry "gods" of paganism because we have no definition of what He is. Love puts the reality to what His IS really IS.


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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:39 am 
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A concordance dump is not an argument. I could say more, but I don't want to rabbit trail from this:

More specifically, I thought you were going to present a Scriptural argument in favor of Universalism, or at least the hope that all will be saved. Was I mistaken?

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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:50 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
A concordance dump is not an argument. I could say more, but I don't want to rabbit trail from this:

More specifically, I thought you were going to present a Scriptural argument in favor of Universalism, or at least the hope that all will be saved. Was I mistaken?


My mistake. I thought you were asking for Scripture for the last subject discussed, which was the meaning of the word love and its relationship to God. Thus, I posted definitions from Scripture regarding God is love. (I do, however, think that the fact that God is love DOES have quite a bit to do with how He deals with us in the next life).

As for the Patristic Universalist position, I have written an Email to Professor Ilaria Ramelli regarding the meaning of the word "aionion," which has been, according to her (a Greek scholar) mistranslated as "eternal." I have not received a reply.

I think this is an important starting point because no believer in Apokatastasis, either now or in the Early Fathers, disbelieved in the painful experience of chastisement for sin in the next life (as is sometimes falsely reported by those who oppose Apokatastasis). The whole issue really revolves around this translation of one single word. If what you say is correct then there is never-ending punishment. But if aionion has been mistranslated, then this opens up an entirely different view of the next life and God's dealings with us.

It really boils down to a correct translation of Scripture, doesn't it?


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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:53 am 
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No, but that helps. If "aionion" means something different, that would be a piece of evidence in favor of your hypothesis.

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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 5:01 pm 
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How many Church Fathers believed in the apokatastasis other than

- St. Clement of Alexandria
- Origen
- St. Gregory of Nyssa
- St. Gregory Nazianzus

? One would get the impression from some of the responses in this thread that there's a whole army of Church Fathers marshalled in favor of the doctrine.

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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:06 pm 
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Peregrinator wrote:
How many Church Fathers believed in the apokatastasis other than

- St. Clement of Alexandria
- Origen
- St. Gregory of Nyssa
- St. Gregory Nazianzus

? One would get the impression from some of the responses in this thread that there's a whole army of Church Fathers marshalled in favor of the doctrine.


The interesting thing about it is this....there were three theological schools that taught it for the first 500 years of the Christian faith until the half-pagan emperor, Justinian, shut them down because he didn't like the doctrine. Now think about this. During those 500 years, not one single Church council was called on it, not one anathema pronounced in that regard. Certainly if this was a "soul-damning heresy" as I've heard certain Catholic apologists claim, there would have been a council on it long before Justinian intervened to impose his views.

BTW - As I understand it, St. Gregory of Nyssa was one of the men very directly involved in the creating of the Creed.

Why do you suppose no one objected until Justinian?


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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 5:45 am 
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Do you believe that God is justice?

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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 11:13 am 
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I looks like you're still trying to reason from God's essence to His acts. Claiming that we know that God wouldn't do something (i.e., punish someone for eternity) because that isn't love, and He just is love, doesn't end up in any different place than God couldn't punish someone eternally because that would be evil (i.e., violate the law of love). You still have God acting under compulsion.

Again, when we talk about God being love, we are thinking about His essence under a particular aspect, and that aspect is desirability, both in itself and what completes us. This does not mean that if God does not give Himself to us, or if He does not change us in such a way that we are able to experience or perceive Him in a "positive" way, that He is no longer what is desirable or what completes our nature.

You also seem to be mistaking love for "doing what is best for the other" or even just "doing what is good for the other." There is a reason, relating to what it means to be human, that to love someone involves doing good for them. But as I have very often said, nothing save God is absolutely good always and in all cases, and that includes this aspect of love. To execute a murderer is simply not to do that which is good or best for them. You just can't make that argument. And yet the demands of justice might require just such a punishment (for humans). So if we can't make the claim that humans must necessarily and always do what is best or even good for the particular individual to classify the act as loving, how much less can we require that of God (as if we could require anything of Him whatsoever).

And yet, it remains, God is love. And as we have pointed out, God is also justice. And God is also wrath. And God is also peace. And God is also knowledge. And God is also power. And all the rest. So let's go back to thinking about God under the aspect of desirability or that which completes us. If you follow the language closely, you'll see that's actually the reference to Good. Good, as we have talked about, is what we desire, and what we desire is what completes our nature. So what is love at its most basic level? It is the desire for what is good. Now we can desire what is good in different ways depending on our nature. The point is that we desire good because, again, what is good is relative to us. I desire food because it is "good" for my nature. I desire learning because it is "good" for my nature. Some things are easier to desire than others, whereas other things require much work and we learn to love them, because what we are doing is learning both intellectually and experientially what is good for us. And in those latter types of goods, the pleasure we get from attaining those very high goods is of such a deeper and more profound level that only those who have reached them can really understand. To take an easy example, think of the "puppy love" between to young teenagers and the love of a man and wife who have been demonstrating true, Christian, marital love towards one another for fifty years. The puppy love is certainly easier, and it is certainly pleasurable as far as it goes. But the deeper love is just that--deeper. It is very hard gained. But it is infinitely more pleasurable.

But what does any of this mean when we talk about God? God doesn't need anything in us to complete His nature. He isn't any more or less completed by our salvation or by our damnation. He doesn't feel one bit better or worse by having created the world or not. God is impassible! So when we say that God is love, remember that we are saying something about Him that has a truth in and of itself with respect to Himself, but it is really something about us and our relation to Him. God is Love in the sense that He is the Highest Good, because He just is Good Itself (because He is Being Itself). He is our End in really two unique ways. Intellectually, we are able to contemplate Good Itself and desire Good Itself, which definitionally means we desire God (whether we know it or not); and being made in His image, He is our end in a super natural way. That latter End is by grace alone.

The upshot to all of this is that we cannot reason from God's love to any way He must act towards us. He is neither obligated nor compelled to save or damn or anything in between. Now in our human nature, being social creatures, it is necessary for our good (individually and collectively) that we do what is best for one another, and so we desire that. Indeed, not only do we desire to do what is good for one another, but further we are morally obligated to do so--and that because of our nature. That's what morality is. And we call that "love." I am obligated to love my children, and I do, both by desire and by law (moral and legal). So we see God blessing us, and we call that love. And in a sense, it is. He is doing what is good for us, not of necessity, but of grace. And it is fitting for Him to do so since we are His image. And since the Father really does love the Son and Spirit, and they He and One Another, constantly and eternally desiring their own Being, it remains more fitting still that we, His image, would be such a community that desires the good of the other. And so it is, again, fitting that God would condescend to us, as a Greater to a lesser, to do our good. It is all beautiful, and it helps us see not only the moral value of love, but the theological value as well.

But none of it, as beautiful and fitting as it is, is necessary. God is under no compulsion.

This is not, for the ten millionth time, to say that God therefore must damn anyone or that He cannot save everyone either initially or after a time in Hell (whatever we mean by "Hell"). It is to say that we cannot argue, "God is love, but it isn't loving to condemn eternally, therefore God can't/won't condemn eternally." Instead, we must argue as the Church has always argued, which goes like this:

1. God can do whatever God wills
2. God has willed to save some and damn others
3. Therefore, some will be saved and some will be damned

(1) is provable by philosophy. (2) is provable by Scripture or Tradition.

You need to argue like this

1. God can do whatever God wills
2. God has chosen to save all
3. Therefore, all will be saved and none will be (eternally) damned

(1) is provable by philosophy. (2) must be proved by Scripture or Tradition. What biblical or traditional evidence do you have that "God has chosen to save all"?

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Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. ~ Pope Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes 24.3


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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:17 pm 
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Jack3 wrote:
Do you believe that God is justice?


No.

Find that in the Scriptures for me.

It says that God is just in all His dealings.


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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:32 pm 
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Light of the East wrote:
Jack3 wrote:
Do you believe that God is justice?


No.

Find that in the Scriptures for me.

It says that God is just in all His dealings.

Only one example:

"He executes justice" - Deut 10:18

As you well understand, God is what He does. More generally, I refer you to every Bible verse that refers to God's justice or righteousness. They are the same words in Greek and Hebrew. So in saying God is righteous or just, you are ascribing to Him the property of justice. But as you should well understand now, that would mean that if God is just, the He just is Justice.

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Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. ~ Pope Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes 24.3


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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:48 pm 
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Quote:
Love is univocal in its ontological reality. That is, love is ALWAYS doing what is the BEST for the other.
This statement cannot be true. Setting aside the question of univocality, what this statement boils down to is that, when God creates, He creates obligations to things outside of Himself that He must fulfill. But He cannot do that. He must be faithful to promises when He has made them, as in the case of covenants and the sacraments, but even in those cases, it is a matter of how He has chosen to relate to His creation, not an obligation imposed upon Him by the act of creating.

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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:05 pm 
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Quote:
looks like you're still trying to reason from God's essence to His acts. Claiming that we know that God wouldn't do something (i.e., punish someone for eternity) because that isn't love, and He just is love, doesn't end up in any different place than God couldn't punish someone eternally because that would be evil (i.e., violate the law of love). You still have God acting under compulsion.


I'm confused. Didn't you teach me that God's essence is His acts? Wait a minute, I'll dig up the quote for you:

Quote:
Now if God does not have a nature, but just is a nature, then “His nature” is just what He is. And what is He? The Latin answer is ipsum esse subsistens — Existence Existing in Itself. That’s the reason that He is His actions. [/b]He is not a being that does this or that. Rather, [b]He is identical with “the doing of that.” That’s just His essence — the act of being. And he “be’s” in whatever way He chooses to be. And that choice just is His essence, necessarily, and absolutely freely.


He IS what He DOES. That is what you just said to me here, correct?

His essence is His actions. That seems to be what you have said to me.

We have an identity of His essence - love. It is said clearly, plainly, and needing no interpretation. Because He is, He loves. To me, Divine Simplicity actually defends Apokatastasis.

Now a couple of people here are trying to redefine God's essence by saying either that it there is more (God is justice, God is wrath, God is anger, whatever) or accusing me of using a univocal voice in speaking of love - to which I say "HELL, YEAH!!!" (Sorry for the bad pun - couldn't resist it).

You cannot define love as something else other than what it is. But let's play this game. Suppose I agree that it is wrong to use the univocal voice in regards to love and say that it is okay to define love in a manner condign with actions other than doing what is BEST for the object of one's love.m Then you could say -

The man who beats his wife really loves her.
The man who steals from his neighbor does so in love.
The man who abuses women by making pornography does so because he loves women (I heard once this definition of Hugh Hefner)
The man who hits his child with a belt, leaving black and blue bruises, does so in love.

Am I getting my point across?

There is but one, univocal definition of love - doing that which is best for the other person. Jesus taught us that. Mankind has agreed to that definition.

Now.....the MANNER in which that which is BEST for a person may very well have different facets, but the END RESULT MUST BE A GOOD FOR THE BELOVED PERSON. It must be teleologically oriented to achieving the best result for the one to whom the love is being given. You cannot say in any of the four examples I gave above that there is a teleological good to be achieved - only harm. On the other hand, history is filled with many examples of what appear to be horrible conditions and / or events in which human beings found themselves, only to realize many years after the fact that they prospered spiritually by going through these horrible events. Such a story would be that of Fr. Walter Ciszek, a Roman Catholic priest who went to Russia to minister to Catholics there and wound up spending 15 years in a Siberian gulag. Fr. Ciszek wrote a wonderful little book about this experience in which he describes how going through this, as terrible as it was, did wonderful things for him spiritually. Other people have had the exact opposite happen to them. They have been showered with riches and prosperity, but learned to use it to the good of their souls in helping the poor and needy. In doing so, many of them are now sainted. This is what I mean by the MANNER. Two different experiences, but in each case, the teleological end was achieved. God, in love, gives to each of us what we need in order for us to reach the end He desires, and end which is based in His love.

Torment over sin, punishment, the "scourging of God's love," however you wish to state it, is done with the restitution, the good of the soul, in mind. Eternal torment achieves no teleological good. It is not consistent with achieving anything other than revenge, and if you want to go there, we can get into a very interesting discussion of the fact that God is immutable and not bound by passions as we are. In essence, what has happened is that man has imprinted his need for revenge upon the character of God and said "I want revenge, and if God is really good, He wants revenge also." Man has redefined God to be like man.

And.....while I am at it.....WHY am I so adamant about this issue? I mean, really, why not just quietly believe what I believe and leave it alone? Well, it goes to the heart of our relationship with God. It is not possible to have a relationship which is based on fear. That is the basis of Western, "You-are-all-going-to-hell-so-you-better-behave-or-else" theology. This is very personal for me. I once had a priest who was giving me spiritual direction tell me that I was just like Luther. That isn't good!!! When you read biographies of Luther, you see a man tormented by the idea of a God who is looking for any reason at all to send him into the eternal flames. It is not a way to come to peace in your heart. Sacred Scripture says that perfect love casts out fear. How do you love one who might just well torture you or your loved ones forever if you make one little misstep or have one small piece of doctrine not exactly right? Yet that is the presentation of much of theology which I find. And it made me a most arrogant, unpleasant, and unhappy Christian to be around.

I have come to a lot more peace in my heart since I have embraced the fact that not only is God love, but He acts in love also, not only here and now, but in the next life as well. So when I find out that the Church for 500 years taught God's all-encompassing love until Justinian closed the schools of theology that were teaching it, when I find out that certain people in leadership in the Church appeared to be more interested in power than shepherding the sheep, when I see that men have either mistranslated or simply played fast and loose with the Scriptures for their own reasons, when I examine and understand what love is, as opposed to the various strange definitions that people want to put on it -- all these things push me towards embracing Apokatastasis.

Sorry to get off track there, but I wanted to say that. I'll read the rest of your post and I need to take a few bites out of your book before I retire tonight.

THINKING OUT LOUD: What do you think would be the effect upon society if Apokatastasis was accepted and preached? This is a serious question and not asked flippantly.


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 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God is good
PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:08 pm 
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In speaking univocally of God, you fly in the face of all thought about God, East and West, for centuries, from the beginning. I don't think you understand how novel you are being here.

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